It’s summer. Who brings red wine to a party? One of your friends did, and no one touched it (in favor of rosé and cold beer). Now you have a half bottle to use up, and it’s a good problem to have. Here’s what to do.
I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who doesn’t go near red wine when it’s hotter than 75 degrees out (unless there’s a brilliant bottle of Barolo or Margaux around, plus a great steak). In the summertime I’m all about rosé and cold cocktails, so if someone brought red wine to my house and I had to use it up, I’d be a little stumped at first. But having spent some time thinking about it, there are plenty of ways to not throw perfectly good wine away after a couple days.
Obvious and classic for a reason. Medium-bodied red wine is just the thing for a big batch of citrusy, brandy-spiked sangria brimming with fruit and chock-full of ice.
2) Tinto de Verano
Spain has other tricks up its leftover-red-wine sleeve, including tinto de verano, a fancy name for “red wine spritzer.” This GQ writer wrote a slightly defensive ode to the drink—which is just red wine and lemon soda like Sprite—defending its charms, and I’m intrigued.
3) Deglaze any pan
Have you sautéed shallots? White onions? Garlic? Chicken thighs? Summer veggies? Great. Make a sauce. It’s as simple as using wine, water, cider, bourbon or beer to deglaze and remove the blackened bits on your sheet pan or skillet, stirring frequently with a flat wooden spoon. Red wine will reduce into a lovely sauce if you simmer it over low heat. Once it’s reduced by about half, add a pat of butter, a splash of sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper and see where you are. More often than not, it’ll be delightful drizzled over your finished dish—and it takes five minutes to make.
4) Make a mushroom-red wine sauce for steak
Watch: How to Make Wine Bread
5) Use it as a marinade
It makes sense that meats such as steak and lamb—which go beautifully with certain red wines—can marinate in it, too. This recipe is a great starter if you’ve got a hunk of steak, and this one will inspire you to take a crack at grilled leg of lamb.
6) Make granita
I’ve had (incredible) bourbon granita at a party, and next on my list is this heroic-sounding red wine granita from a writer at Food52. (Three ingredients? I’m into it.)
7) Chill it
In interviewing sommeliers, I’ve learned that many of us actually serve red wine too warm. You can’t taste its nuances when it’s the wrong temperature, so don’t serve it at 70 or 80 degrees. Got only half a glass left and don’t want to waste it? Chill it in the fridge and see if it’s more to your taste.
See, there? Now it’s gone.
Alex Van Buren is a food and travel writer living in Brooklyn, New York whose work has appeared in Gourmet.com, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, New York Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and Epicurious. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @alexvanburen.